The Northeast Spa & Pool Association has changed its preferred insurer from The Hartford to CNA.

“We have nothing bad to say about The Hartford program,” said NESPA Executive Director Lawrence Caniglia. “But when you have two programs, you can look at both and say, ‘Which one is best for the membership?’”

CNA has a history with the pool and spa industry. For 12 years, it was a preferred carrier with the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals, and in the early 2000s it was the largest insurer in the construction trades. In 2004, however, the carrier stopped covering all such industries after it had to make large payouts to homeowners who filed mold claims. Several insurers followed suit, leaving the industry struggling to find coverage.

“Here in the Northeast and throughout the whole country, it was a real scramble looking for insurance,” Caniglia said.

That year, NESPA began working with The Hartford. But it has now determined that CNA, which re-entered the construction field a couple of years ago, has a better program for its members.

Caniglia pointed to a more extensive education program, whereby customers can go online to learn how to reduce risk, or CNA representatives can visit chapter meetings to provide information.

“They have static video presentations and Power Point presentations, and it’s all wrapped around various things that the building industries need to know to maintain lower premiums and keep their risks down,” Caniglia said. “They were offering not only the programs that they already have, but said that they would work with us to make a program that would be more specific to the swimming pool industry.”

CNA also will provide a financial incentive to NESPA to use the insurer’s name in marketing materials.

“As the program builds, there will be additional support levels to the association to give us a revenue stream on the program,” Caniglia said. “That goes right back to the members in programs and events.”

While insurers in the four NESPA states cannot offer discounts to customers just because of association membership, they often look favorably on certifications.

Caniglia said CNA has committed to the industry. “We did not want to be in a position where the same thing could happen that happened back in 2004,” he said. “CNA was able to answer all of our concerns with a very strong three-year, no-holds-barred, in-writing [commitment] saying, ‘This program’s going to be three years minimum.’ So we feel reassured that it’s going to be a good solid program for three years.”

Whereas five years ago, contractors had to beg and plead for coverage, the industry now has options. The Hartford and Navigators, which works with APSP, will continue to offer coverage for the industry.